Another Nail In Coal’s Coffin

I’m not sure it’s even really news at this point, but earlier this week Ameren Missouri announced that it would close its Rush Island Energy Center generating plant early, rather than spend the money to install flue gas desulfurization technology in response to an injunction issued after the District Court found that the Rush Island facility had violated the Clean Air Act.  As Ameren noted in its filing with the Court: 

Retiring Rush Island early will have a much more beneficial environmental impact, on a far shorter timeframe, than installing wet flue gas desulfurization (“FGD”) technology and continuing operations.

Ameren made clear that turning of the switch “is not a simple matter.”  Ameren needs permission from the Midcontinent Independent System Operator and there are reliability issues associated with the shutdown.  However, Ameren has indicated that it will shut down no later than the date provided in the court order for the installation of FGD at Rush Island.

It’s worth noting that, aside from its discussion concerning the negotiations with MISO, Ameren’s brief in support of its new position almost could have been written by the Sierra Club or EPA.  Shutting down coal-fired generation, even in St. Louis, Missouri, is now mom and apple pie.  My memory may not be what it used to be, but I seem to recall that it was not that long ago when the “war on coal” was an attack on Western civilization itself.

That coal is now going out with little more than a whimper gives me hope that opposition to measures to address climate change may also fade away faster than currently seems possible.

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